DYERSVILLE, Iowa — On July 31st, 2020, a local icon and namesake of the Western Dubuque Area passed away. Wayne F. Drexler, age 91, died after a brief illness in the presence of his four sons at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital.
Friends and relatives of Wayne may call from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 5, 2020, at Reiff Funeral Home in Dyersville, where a wake service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Social distancing will be followed, as recommended by federal and state guidelines. Face masks are required to attend the visitation. Anyone interested in sending memorials may send them to Reiff Funeral Home, Attention: Wayne Drexler Family at P.O. Box #271, Dyersville, Iowa, 52040. Visitation will continue on Thursday after 8:30 a.m. at the funeral home until time of services.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Wayne will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 6, 2020, at the Basilica St. Francis Xavier in Dyersville, with Rev. Tyler Raymond presiding. Burial will take place in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Farley, with full military honors afforded by the Farley American Legion Post #656.
Wayne was born in Farley on September 12, 1928, to Ben and Lida Drexler, and attended St. Josephs High School where he graduated in 1946. Growing up in Farley, he played baseball with brother John and the Farley town team and also played piano for many years in local area dance bands. Wayne continued his education, receiving a B.A. degree from Loras College and then received advanced degrees from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and the University of Iowa. He started his teaching career in 1950 where it was interrupted by the Korean War and he served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps in Austin until 1953.
Returning to education, Wayne continued teaching until 1957, when he became Dubuque County Superintendent where he inherited over 100 rural schools. This was a period of school district reorganization in Iowa and by 1960, the Western Dubuque County School District was founded and Wayne was chosen to be its first superintendent. He continued in this position until he retired in 1991. Under his leadership, the district became a premier educational institution and grew from a mere 360 students in 1960 to nearly 4,000 in 10 years. On September 9, 1996, Wayne was honored by the Western Dubuque School Board when they voted unanimously to rename the Farley elementary and middle schools to Drexler Elementary and Middle School.
Wayne was married to Mary (McMullen) Drexler in 1955 and they lived in Dyersville until her death in 2017. The couple had four sons. Wayne also had numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom he loved and enjoyed spending time with. After retiring Wayne and Mary spent most of their quality time in their cherished summer home located on Esman Island near Guttenberg, Iowa. There he spent time fishing, reading, relaxing and watching his beloved Dodger baseball team. Wayne will be missed by all who knew him.
He was a member of the St. Francis Xavier Basilica parish in Dyersville. Wayne was a member of the Farley American Legion post #656 and the Society of Forty Men or Eight Horses Dubuque County Voyager #632.
He is survived by four sons, Douglas (Sharene Kroeger) Drexler, of Florence, WI, and their children, Samantha, Ben and Shannon, Daniel (Donna Ries) Drexler, of Bettendorf, IA, and their children, Abigail, Olivia, Eleanor and Anastasia, Dean (Pam) Drexler, of Safety Harbor, FL, and their children, Amy, Shelley, Sarah and Alex, Wayne Drexler Jr., of Dyersville, IA; three great-grandchildren, Connor Sheriton, Khloe Downing and Harbor Drexler; one brother, John (Lois) Drexler, of Dubuque, IA; four sisters-in-law, Kathy (Jim) Funke, of Edgewood, IA, Pat (Dan) Ott, of Madison, WI, Charlotte McMullen, of Sherrill, IA, and Joyce McMullen, of Cascade, IA.
He is preceded in death by his parents; a sister-in-law, Mary Jean (Ed) Gansen; three brothers-in-law, Bob McMullen, Thomas J. McMullen and Duane (Jane) Slauson.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.reifffuneralhomeinc.com.